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monk's shoulders , best knows ; but it would have suited a Bramin , and had I met it upon the plains of Indostan , I had reverenced it.
The rest of his outline, may be given in a few strokes; one might put it into the hands of any one to design, for 'twas neither elegant nor otherwise, but as character and expression made it so : it was a thin , spare form, something above the common size, if it lost not the distinction by a bend forwards in the figure—but it was the attitude of intreaty ; and as it now stands present to my imagination, it gain’d more than it lost by it.
When he had entered the room three paces , le stood still, laying his left hand upon his breast ( a slender white staff with which he journeyed being in his right )
- when I had got close up to him, he introduced himself with the little story of the wants of his convent, and the poverty of his order — and did it with so simple a grace — and such an air of deprecation was there in the whole cast of his look and figure - I was bewitchi'd not to have been struck with it.
- A better reason was, I had pre-deter. mined not to give him a single sou.
- 'Tis very true, said I, replying to a cast upwards with his eyes, with which he had concluded his address — 'tis very true - and heaven be their resource who have no other but the charity of the world, the stock of which , I fear , is no way sufficient for the many great claims which are hourly made upon it.
As I pronounced the words great claims , he gave a slight glance with his eyes downwards upon the sleeve of his tunic - I felt the full force of ihe appeal--I acknowledge it, said I- a coarse habit, and that but once in three years, with meagre diet — are no great matters : and the true point of pity is, as they can be earu'd in the world with so little industry, that your order should wish to procure them by pressing upon a fund which is the property of the lame, the blind, the aged, and the infirm: the captive who lies down counting over and over again the days of his afflictions , languishes also for his share of it; and had you been of the order of mercy , instead of the order of St. Francis, poor as I am , continued I, pointing at my portmanteau , full cheerfully should it have been opened to you for the ransom of the unfortunate. The monk made me a bow — but of all others , resumed I, the infortunate of our own country , surely , have the first rights; and I have left thousands in distress upon our own shore — The monk gave a cordial wave with his head as much as to say , No doubt, there is misery enough in every corner of the world, as well as within our convent — But we distinguish , said I, laying my hand upon the sleeve of his tunic, in return for his appeal — we distinguish , my good father betwixt those who wish only to eat the bread of their own labour – and those who eat the bread of other people's, and have no other plan in life, but to get through it in sloth and ignorance for the love of God.
The poor Franciscan made no reply; a hectic of a moment pass’d across his cheeks, but could not tarry - Nature seemed to have done with her resentiments in him ; he shewed none – but letting his staff fall within his arm , he press’d both his lands with resignation upon his breast, and retired.
My heart smote me the moment he shut the door - Psha ; said I with an air of
carelessness , three several times - but it would not do : every ungracious syllable I had uttered, crowded back into my imagination ; I reflected , I had no right over the poor Franciscan , but to deny him; and that the punishment of that was enough to the disappointed without the addition of unkind language - I consider'd his grey hair - his courteous figure seem'd to reenter, and gently ask me what injury lie had done me? and why I could use him thus ? — I would have given twenty livres for an advocate - I have behaved very ill, said I within myself ; but I have only just set out upon my travels ; and shall learn better manners as I get along.
THE BEGGAR AND HIS DOG.
In a few hours Harley reached the inn where he proposed breakfasting; but the fulness of his heart would not susier him to eat a morsel. He walked out on the road, and gaining a little height , stood gazing on that quarter he had left. He looked for his wonted prospect , his fields, his woods , and his hills : they were lost in the distant clouds ! He penciled them on the clouds , and bade them farewell with a sigh.
He sat down on a large stone to take out a little pebble from his shoe, when he saw, at some distance , a beggar approaching him. He had on a loose sort of coat , mended with different-coloured rags , amongst which the blue and the russet were predominant. He had a short knotty stick in his hand, and on the top of it was stuck a ram's horn; his knees (though he was no pilgrim ) had worn the stuff off his breeches; he wore no shoes, and his stockings had entirely lost that part of them which should have covered his feet and ancles : in his face , however, was the plump appearance of good - humour ; he walked a good round pace, and a crooklegged dog trotted at his heels.
« Our delicacies , said Harley to himself, » are fantastic; they are not in nature ! that » beggar walks over the sharpest of these ' stones barefooted, while I have lost the » most delightful dream in the world, from » the smallest of them happening to get » into my shoe.» - The beggar had by this time come up, and pulling off a piece of hat , asked charity of Harley: the dog began to beg too : -- it was impossible to resist